The COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on students from historically marginalized communities underscore the value of continuous improvement (CI) as a framework for understanding the depth of unfinished learning and responding to it in an urgent, data-driven, and adaptive manner. Working alongside school-based teams, Bellwether has developed a refined and balanced approach to the traditional CI process that is more attuned to realities in schools, particularly in the wake of the pandemic — and is now available for school leaders to download as a customizable, easy-to-use resource that can help them implement these techniques for students.
Bellwether’s CI cycle follows a familiar four-step cadence (“Envision-Execute-Examine-Enact”), but builds on prior models by adding a high-impact adaptive leadership action to what’s typically been viewed as a predominantly technical process. This modification is grounded in the idea that while CI’s technical elements are critical to understand what needs to happen, the cycle ultimately doesn’t lead to sustained change without careful consideration of how that change will occur.
In Bellwether’s refined CI approach, the technical and adaptive components of the cycle are intentionally blended. This approach enables school leadership to ground CI plans in measurable goal-based data metrics within aligned, agile teams and coalitions focused on supporting seamless execution on behalf of students.
Bellwether’s CI Workbook is a customizable, easy-to-use resource for leaders in any school context to implement these techniques for students. This workbook will be a useful tool as leaders assess and respond to unfinished learning this fall and beyond.